U of G researchers look to improve the resiliency of the province’s agri-food industry
By Paula Schuck
A $1.8-million Ontario government investment is aimed at helping Ontario’s agri-food industry innovate and grow sustainably.
The funding is part of the Agri-Food Innovation Alliance, a partnership between the University of Guelph (U of G) and the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.
This new investment will support ten environmental research projects at the U of G. These projects will address environmental challenges such as algal blooms in the Great Lakes while also providing new tools and building capacity for farmers to become more resilient to a changing climate.
“This investment will help Ontario develop new environmental technologies, practices and on-farm solutions. Giving farmers the latest knowledge and tools is vital so they can continue to protect our soil, water and air for future generations,” said Ernie Hardeman, minister of agriculture, food and rural affairs, in an email response.
And the U of G is dedicated to work in this field.
"As Canada's food university, University of Guelph is committed to research that enhances the production of safe and healthy food while protecting the environment," Malcolm Campbell, U of G’s vice-president of research, said in a news release this week. "With this government support, University of Guelph researchers will make world-class discoveries that help Ontario farmers nourish Canadians and preserve our natural environment."
The ten research projects the investment will help are:
- Cover crop research: scaling up to human health and scaling out to Ontario
- Tracing nitrogen losses and transfer from cover crops and cover crop mixtures to the subsequent corn crop
- Developing rapid organic matter assessment tools to monitor soil health BMPs
- Updating and calibrating the century soil organic matter model for Ontario's cropland sector
- Transfer of agricultural phosphate from field to surface water via riverine buffer strips during freeze-thaw cycling
- Quantifying structural stability of agricultural soils in Ontario
- Development of best management practices for ecologically sustainable pollination of Ontario fruit and vegetable crops by supporting wild pollinators
- Factors influencing farmer adoption of soil health best management practices in Ontario
- Social networks for healthy soils: driving soil best management practices adoption through farmer-led social networks
- effects of land-use changes to biomass crops and biofertilizer application on biomass productivity, soil organic carbon, nitrogen, phosphorus and soil health
The research provides unbiased, credible technical advice and resources to support farmer decision-making. Final reports on the funded projects will be released online six months after the projects conclude.
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